‘Legends of Tomorrow’ 1×12 Review: ‘Last Refuge’

For a show that dabbles with time travel and often rambles about the ramifications of altering the timeline, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow hasn’t really experienced the high stakes that should come with that territory. Often we find the show declaring the dangers of time travel but never really seeing the effects when our Legends do alter the timeline. It’s almost been too convenient at times – so that it worked for the episode at hand. So I’ve been waiting for some time for Legends of Tomorrow to really drive home the significance of messing with the timeline.

But “Last Refuge” proved to defy that expectation that had been set as it introduced a very real threat to our heroes that, for the first time, has us worried about the fates of these characters. While it was still infuriating in some regard – seeing as this is still Legends of Tomorrow – all in all this was a solid episode of Legends that relied on the strength of its show, which is the characters (and not Vandal Savage, who should be absent more often).

The episode began with a danger that threatened the lives of our Legends in a unique way that we hadn’t yet seen before. With the introduction of the Pilgrim, a bounty hunter at the usage of the Time Masters, she brought with her an uncertainty throughout time as she planned on traveling to distinct times during our Legends, in the past, and kill them then to erase them from the timeline. Well, that was certainly new.

But then the episode presented an even greater danger than being killed – never existing. Now that past versions of themselves are being kept safe at Rip Hunter’s adoptive mother’s safe house, the Legends risk never having existed the longer that their past selves stay at that place. Basically, they need to return themselves to their correct time or risk not death, but nonexistence.

Something that has lacked on this show has been real danger. And that doesn’t necessarily mean death, but Legends has missed a sense of high stakes that should come with time travel. Whether that’s death or altering the timeline in a significant way that affects their future or the future of those that they know. But finally it feels like we’re getting a glimpse of that.

We’re seeing that there is something much worse than death when it comes to messing with time: nonexistence. While time travel continues to be confusing as hell, from the sound of it our Legends need to return their past selves to the correct time as quickly as possible so as to not ensure permanent damage.

Snart actually talked about how he’d rather die than never have existed, and I think I’d have to agree. That means that all of your loved ones would never have known who you are, would not have those memories, would never miss you because there was nothing to miss. And what’s more alone than never being missed because you never existed?

Now, ultimately I believe that all of our Legends will be able to return their past selves in time to avoid being wiped from existence. But the point of this episode, I believe, was to show that there are real threats when it comes to time. I believe this is setting up something eve greater by season’s end.

While a major character doesn’t necessarily have to die this season in order to show us the risk of it all, I still believe that that’s exactly what’s going to happen. One of our Legends won’t make it. Call it a gut feeling. But also call is common sense seeing as this is a continual cycle of Legends coming on the team, and the chances are not everybody is going to survive this major battle with Vandal Savage. But I finally feel nervous about what lies ahead, which is something I’ve been waiting for.

WHAT’S ON OUR MINDS

Our Legends Find Themselves Lost in Time

Something that this show has lacked since its inception has been a real high stakes that you’d assume would come with the territory of time travel. We’ve seen instances where our Legends do something that should alter the timeline significantly but doesn’t really. But with this new twist thrown in – with the past versions of our Legends being kidnapped from their time and held at a safe house – our Legends face a legitimate threat that involves their existence. How long can the timeline survive without themselves before they’re erased it and their loved ones never knowing who they were? Finally, high stakes.

How Long Before This Ray/Kendra Engagement is Scrapped?

When it comes to the Ray/Kendra romance it doesn’t get any better the more they shove these two down our throats or no matter how much they seemingly rush their relationship. During a time of crisis, Ray finally came clean about his nearly proposing to Kendra and then went forward and actually proposed to which Kendra said yes. Only it was evident that she did not want this. But what else was she supposed to say during what could’ve been Ray’s final moments? So she grappled with this throughout the rest of the episode – and Ray overheard her talking to Sara about he acceptance and being tied down by fate. It finally appeared as if we were going to get some closure here. Until we didn’t. Kendra, as she has done this entire time, continues to string Ray along. Despite her doubts that they can ever really survive long-term and be happy – despite all the warnings from the universe, including her past self – Kendra decided to go forward with the engagement. And please don’t tell me this is actually going to happen.

Will We See a Change After Jax Warned His “Past” Father?

There were several interactions between our Legends and the past versions of themselves, but none was as touching as Jax meeting his father the day that he was born. Having met his father – and seeing alive – Jax struggled with whether or not to warn him about the day that he would die on the battlefield. Ultimately he managed to stop himself, after a discussion with his father. The first time. But the second time, Jax couldn’t stop himself. Despite knowing that he shouldn’t alter the timeline or that this might ultimately fail – as time will act as it must to ensure balance – Jax opened up to his father and the result was all the emotion. But that made me wonder how things ultimately were affected in the future. Was there some way that Jax’s father survived the war? Did he survive that day only for another day to get him? Will we ever actually know?

Quentin Lance Makes a Cameo!

The fun things with having three shows within the same DC universe, as well as one that majors in time travel, is getting to explore familiar characters during different times. As the team went back for younger Sara circa 2007, we came across the past Sara (with bangs) and her father, Arrow’s Quentin Lance (with hair!) as the two were living their lives before the Pilgrim blasted in and attempted to kill Sara. Anytime Quentin Lance gets to make an appearance – and with it being a matter of family – is a good episode to us. Not to mention the feels that came with present Sara and past Quentin’s final interaction. Emotions. Everywhere. Family will do that to you.

The Cutest Baby is Baby Snart

In the beginning, the Pilgrim was targeting our past Legends at specific times in their lives, as we saw with Sara, Ray, and Rory, but things became even less clear when she would seek them out. So our Legends got smart and decided to kidnap themselves when they were babies to ensure that the Pilgrim couldn’t pick them off during any time throughout their lives. So we got to see some baby Legends. But no baby was as cute as Snart, who Sara and Kendra snuck into the hospital at Central City to retrieve.

NEXT TIME ON ‘LEGENDS OF TOMORROW’

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow airs Thursdays at 8/7c on the CW.

What were your thoughts on “Last Refuge?”

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